Re: Kernel configuration and documentatiton

Johan Myreen (
Tue, 25 Jul 1995 09:40:14 +0300 (EET DST)

> From: joey@finlandia.Infodrom.North.DE (Martin Schulze)
> 2. To my feeling there are far too little comments about what all the
> settings are about. Sometimes even I run into trouble, 'cause I
> didn't know what's meant. And what will a newbie think?
> Maybe the Configure script can also be extended to support a help
> function which displays a little (10 lines or so) description about
> the current define.

This has already been done. In
you'll find a replacement Configure script, which looks just like the good
old config script, except that it has a context sensitive help function.
Unfortunately, this config script never made it into the official
distribution and has not been updated since kernel version 1.1.85.

Title: kernel_config_help
Version: 05FEB95
Entered-date: 05FEB95
Description: Help texts for the configuration options of Linux kernel
version 1.1.85 and friends, containing gentle explanations
of many acronyms and pointers to the documentation.
A replacement for the standard Configure script, which
uses these help texts, is provided.
Keywords: kernel configuration help
Author: (Axel Boldt)
Maintained-by: (Axel Boldt)
Primary-site: /pub/Linux/kernel
16 kb kernel_config_help.tgz
Copying-policy: GPL

Personally, what I'd like to see is better support for maintaining
different configurations. I would also rather edit a configuration file
with a text editor instead of running the config script. (I can do both at
the moment, so I'm not complaining...)

While I'm on the subject: Couldn't the configuration be simplified a bit
by skipping some of the options? Every removed question would make life a
little bit easier for the beginner. For example:

CONFIG_BINFMT_ELF - ELF is apparently becoming the primary executable
format Real Soon Now. Couldn't this question be

CONFIG_SYSVIPC - Would it hurt if SYSV IPC was always included? You
never know when you are going to run a program that
requires this. It would also be helpful to software
producers if they could get a definite answer to
the question whether Linux supports SYSV IPC or
not, instead of "well, it depends..."

CONFIG_EXT_FS - Is anybody using this anymore? Should anybody be
using this anymore?

CONFIG_XIA_FS - Hmm? This might still be in use...

CONFIG_PROC_FS - Is there any reason for not having the proc file
system? Doesn't a lot of stuff depend on /proc?

CONFIG_BLK_DEV_IDE - What's the status of the "new" IDE driver? Is it
stable enough so the old one could be skipped,
along with the confusing questions regarding
primary and secondary interfaces?

Perhaps there could be a supplementary "experts" configuration method, so
that, for example, those who hate SYSV IPC could still disable it?

Johan Myreen